Charlotte officer responds to city councilwoman's 'homegrown terrorist' tweet

Charlotte officer responds to city councilwoman's 'homegrown terrorist' tweet
Charlotte City Council member LaWana Mayfield questioned whether the 9-11 terrorist attacks were real in a social media post Monday, saying she is "still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane." (Charlotte Observer File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer is responding to a controversial tweet posted by city councilmember Lawana Mayfield Thursday, which mentioned "terrorist wearing blue uniforms."

Mayfield faced backlash for the comment she tweeted in late March in connection with the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark by two Sacramento Police Department officers. Mayfield, a Democrat who represents west Charlotte, posted on Twitter: "Being Black in America under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms."

While the tweet was posted in late March, it started gaining traction this week.

A CMPD officer sent WBTV a note that was posted to Facebook by a fellow officer in response to Mayfield's tweet. The note is reportedly circulating within the law enforcement community:

I'm an average cop.

The average cop is halfway through their career. The average cop has a degree or military experience or both. The average cop chose this career of public service, not because they had no other options or even because they failed the Firefighter exam. The average cop was not bullied as child. The average cop is not racist. The average cop has never been cited for termination. The average cop has been counseled, trained and both corrected and won accolades. The average cop cares about their community. The average cop believes in the Constitution and American values. The average cop has faith, whether it is in God, mankind or themselves. The average cop has now been labeled a terrorist.

Yes, you heard that right. I'm a terrorist. Over the course of my average career, I've been called many different things, from hero to villain. Some kind words have been said about me and some things that have been said (and I've been called) that you can't print or say in polite company. But never have I been so labeled by a member of my city government. This has had a profound effect on me. I'm surprised that I'm capable of putting these words to paper. So, I've decided to do something about it. I'm going to leave home after I hug the one I love and, again for the thousandth time, assure them that I will be safe and see them after my shift. Even though it's an empty promise and nothing about policework is certain. I'm going to put on 28 pounds of gear and uniform. I'm going to sit in roll call, where my supervisor will tell me the day's plan and remind me again of the number of officers killed in the line of duty and how that number is tragic and growing. I'm going to get my shotgun and/or rifle because today, the bad guys are armed better than I am. I'm going to load my car that is distinctively painted with lights and siren to ensure that everyone for one square mile knows it's a cop. I'm going to get behind the wheel and do you know what I'm going to do? How I'm going to respond to being called that despicable name by a so-called leader in my community? What I plan to do in retaliation for inciting violence and hatred towards me? Nothing. I'm going to go to work, risk my life and do my best to serve this community. Because I'm the average cop.

On Thursday, Mark Michalec, the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), wrote a letter to Mayfield regarding the post. In the letter, Michalec said that Mayfield needs to be held to a higher standard since she is a leader in the community.

"Being the President of Charlotte Mecklenburg FOP Lodge #9 and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer for almost twenty-four years I understand that I am held to a higher standard than other citizens," Michalec wrote in the letter. "My actions AND words are critically analyzed every single minute of my day.  You need to be held to just as high of a standard as I am.  You were elected as a City of Charlotte leader."

Michalec said his organization has been "working tirelessly" to work with the Charlotte City Council to work on improving CMPD officers' compensation and benefits. "With the release of this statement by you, it takes away from the focus that we have worked on so hard to bring forward," Michalec said in regards to Mayfield's tweet.

The FOP president questioned Mayfield, asking her whether she was labeling all peace officers as terrorists. "If so, you are also classifying all those Peace Officers, their parents, spouses, children, and relatives as terrorists," Michalec said. "To say the least, you have upset the entire law enforcement community on this ridiculous statement.  We are a family and when offended, we are all offended."

Matt Blaich, who is a CMPD officer, said Mayfield's post "painted a target on every police officer's back; troopers and sheriffs alike."  He added that he hopes the councilwoman will "do what she was elected to do which was to help people, represent the city as a respectable leader, and create a safe, enjoyable and affordable city to live in."

Thursday morning, Mayfield tweeted a response to the controversy around the March tweet. She shared a statement from SAFE Coalition NC.

"@lawanamayfield comments are a statement of fact. There are police that terrorize our community," SAFE Coalition NC tweeted. "Ask the Charlotte victims that have settled lawsuits against the city. Didn't the county just oust a sheriff over 287g? Why do you think we fight 4 Police Accountability? Terror."

Mayfield added that she is a strong supporter of the police department.

"I have and continue to be one of the strongest supporters of law enforcement but I will NOT turn a blind eye to corruption, assaults, and the killings of unarmed black & brown people," Mayfield tweeted. "If you are offended by my comments and not the situation YOU need to re-evaluate."

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney said "it's highly disappointing" that he has to respond to Mayfield's tweet.

"Shouldn't have to waste my time talking about something like that," Putney said. "All I say is...I love this country because we all have the protection of the first amendment. I love this country because of that, but I'll tell you that with every statement you make you're responsible for and people should hold you responsible for that."

Thursday evening, Mayfield took to Twitter, again, in her own defense posting the definition of a terrorist and blaming the media for a "false narrative."

In April, Mayfield made a social media post questioning whether the 9-11 terrorist attacks were real and said she was "still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane."

An online petition asking for her resignation was created and received more than 1,500 signatures. The petition cites "shame" and "disgrace" that has been brought upon herself and the city of Charlotte as the reason for the request of her resignation.

"No I'm not going to resign. I'm going to continue fight because my work speaks for itself," Mayfield said.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.